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African Culture to Be Celebrated This Month at Fordham


Fordham will host Africa Week from March 22 to 26 on the Rose Hill campus in the Bronx.

The weeklong festival, which will include a health fair, lectures, film screenings and performances, will showcase African culture on campus. The public is invited.

“The point is to celebrate Africa,” said Kojo Ampah, a third-year student at Fordham College of Liberal Studies and the chair of the Africa Week planning committee. “It is a must for us to stand up and promote this culture for ourselves and the next generation.

“There is an African proverb: ‘Until the lions find their own historians, the tales of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.’ We must tell our history.”

Jane Kani Edward, Ph.D., post-doctoral fellow and director of African immigration research and the Bronx African American History Project (BAAHP), said the festival aims to “tell a different story about Africans.”

“Africans contribute greatly to American society—they run restaurants, stores, churches, mosques and more,” she said. “The main objective of Africa Week is to tell about the contributions they make here and in their homeland.”

The theme of Africa Week 2010 is “Culture and Democracy: Using Culture as a Tool to Enhance the Growth of Democracy in Africa.”

The week also will include a performance by the Durbar of African Chiefs, a fashion show and an African Expo featuring African-owned area businesses.

The African Cultural Exchange, a student club, and the Department of African and African-American Studies are sponsoring the event.

Mark Naison, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department, said plans are in the works for Africa Week to occur annually.

“Since our department was founded in 1969, we have always made the teaching of African history, and the promotion of African culture, a major priority,” Naison said.

“Now, with the founding of the African Cultural Exchange, we have an opportunity to show the entire University community what Africans have contributed to world civilization over the centuries, and what they are now contributing to the economic and cultural vitality of New York City.

“Fordham, the only Jesuit university in New York City, is located in the midst of the largest concentration of African immigrants in the nation, so we feel we have a special opportunity—and a special responsibility—to showcase African culture,” Naison said.


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